One of the most common issues you’ll run into with pedals, is foot switch problems. Many pedals have different types of foot switches from momentary relays switches, soft switches, micro switches, but what I wanted to talk about today is the standard 3PDT (Triple Pole Double Throw) switches you find on many boutique pedals out there.
Personally, I’ve run into this quite a bit over the years, and especially when you’re talking about pedals with heavy use. The symptom can vary. For me, the classic issue is drop in signal when engaged or disengaged. Hitting the switch a couple of times.. your signal is back. The other issue is you might see LED flicker or effected signal bleed when bypassed. These switches are generally used for ‘true bypass’, so you should NOT get bleed.
A lot of times you can isolate the switch, but lightly pressing on it with a finger and see if you can replicate the problem. Typically, the easiest solution is to replace the foot switch. You can purchase the 3PDT switch from many sources out there, but I recently stumbled across this video showing you how to clean the switch! It never occurred to me that cleaning the switch by disassembly was possible. Check it out:
What I’ve done in the past with good results was using contact cleaner. I absolutely love the CRC QD Contact Cleaner. If you’re into working on electronics, this is sort of a must have. Basically, spray into the switch, and let gravity do it’s thing to get the cleaner into the switch. Then click it over and over working the mechanical function to clean the switch internally. I do like the option of taking it apart though, so you really can clean those contacts.
Let me know your thoughts by commenting below!